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exercise/lifestyle

8/17 9:23:05

Question
I am 40 with family history of hypertension and heart disease. My hypertension (so far) has been limited to earlier pregnancies and when I am under extreme stress. I am not on medication right now. My weight has crept up and although I do not have an incredibly unhealthy lifestyle I do need to make some changes in order to lose about 25 pounds and get back to my healthier self. My triglycerides are borderline high.  I used to walk regularly, but have switched to daily 45 minutes of stair climbing which gets my heart rate up and makes me sweat.  It has now become part of my life and I think I am shaping up already. My diet is not horrendous but like my old exercise patterns, has functioned to maintain a less than ideal weight.  I would like to know what simple things I could introduce or eliminate from my diet to jump start my weight loss efforts. I don't eat a great deal of meat, but I enjoy spuds and pasta. I also enjoy sweets in moderation. I am working on portion control and don't wish to deprive myself.  I am just looking for an easy plan or meal substitution that can jump start my efforts!
Thanks

Answer
Michelle,

You said, "I am just looking for an easy plan or meal substitution that can jump start my efforts!"  Well, you and 50 million other Americans would like to know the answer to that question.

The answer is that there are as many different answers as there are people.  Ideally, we would all be married to a dietician.  Then, our spouse, who knows everything about our eating habits, could make some specific suggestions.

Your efforts at portion control are key to a successful plan.  But until you marry a dietician, or become one, you may want to look into a good diet book.  According to the experts at Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter there are three very good diet books out there:
"Thin for Life" by Anne Fletcher (1994)
"Strong Women Stay Thin" by Miriam Nelson (1998)
"The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan" by Barbara Rolls (2000)

The more we know about what (and how) we are trying to achieve, the more successful we will be.  Eating healthy and exercising regularly are not temporary efforts to achieve weight loss.  Diet and exercise are lifestyle habits that need to be permanent.  Therefore, an "easy plan to jumpstart" weight loss may not be the best way to look at this.  

Here is my list of "to do" items for good diet and exercise:
- eat more fruits and vegetables (some at each meal)
- stick with "low-fat" or "skim" dairy products
- eat more fish
- avoid high sugar and high fat snacks & desserts
- never drink soda pop or other sugar drinks (diet soda is OK)
- avoid high fat meats
- nuts, in moderation, make a good snacks
- fruit for dessert
- wait 15 minutes before going back for seconds
- drink my whole glass of (non-sugar) drink before going back for seconds
- no snacking between meals
- if a snack is necessary, eat some fruit or nuts and drink something
- DON'T EVEN BUY JUNK FOOD - none in my cabinets
- exercise six days a week, seven if I can swing it

Well, hopefully you'll get something out of what I said.  It's a very tough situation to be in, trying to lose weight.  That's why Americans spend BILLIONS of dollars a year on weight loss foods, books, pills, machines, etc.  Watch out for the crooks trying to sell you snake oil.

Best wishes and best of luck.

Todd
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